Editor’s Note: This article was first published on December 14, 2017.
I recently found myself alone in a hotel in Palm Springs after my travel companion bailed on me. In pursuit of some intimate companionship, I posted in Craigslist Casual Encounters M4M (the OG Grindr).
Many of my gay brethren will take issue with my presenting as bi-curious. Make no mistake: I’m a gay man and have been, openly, since the Clinton administration. And yes, I’m aware that it’s politically incorrect to admit to only being attracted to straight guys. But given the popularity of social networking apps like Bro, (where “straight” members “fistbump” rather than “poke” each other to express their interest in boning), it’s safe to say I’m not alone.
In the end, it didn’t matter. I didn’t meet anyone that night in Palm Springs. At least not in the flesh. There was, however — nestled amongst a half-dozen replies from aging, pseudo-straight desert gay men — an email from a guy in Milwaukee introducing himself as a “Bi Life Coach.” The subject line: “BI LIFE COACH is here for all bi-curious men who are newcomers to the bisexual lifestyle!”
“BI LIFE COACH” is a discrete, one-on-one consulting service for bi men quietly facing bisexuality, which is often a very troubling and a worrisome ordeal in modern America. You are NOT alone! Coming out or accepting one’s bisexuality is often a very frightening and painful life experience. Help is here from the Bi Men Network and also at our online social fraternity — the Beta Mu Society.
Bi Life Coach can be vital to help you safely, and very discreetly work through coming out and accepting your bisexual life and making it happy and safe for you.
BE BI and BE HAPPY! Why not??
Stewart (Mac) McCloud
Bi Men Network/Bi Life Coach
Mac was at least right about “NOT” being alone. According to a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bisexuality is, in fact, on the rise. Two percent of men now identify as bisexual, up from 1.2 percent in 2010, and the number of men who’ve had sexual experiences with another guy has gone up, too — nearly doubling to 8.2 percent in 2014 from 4.5 percent in 1990.
I didn’t seek out Mac for any coaching, but I did ask for an interview. He agreed, and last week, we spoke about how a bunch of Marines inspired him to start his support system for bisexual men, the perils of telling your wife that you’re bisexual and why — in the Mountain West at least — it’s easier to come out as bisexual in the spring than the winter.
You’re kind of a bisexual expert. How’d that happen?
I’m trying to help people be happy and accept their bisexuality and make it work for them. It started when I was living in a little beach cottage by the ocean in Camp Pendleton in California. I met these older Marines who were married and having sex with other men, like Colonel Fitts from American Beauty.
I started the BiMen Network to help these men. That way, they didn’t have to go to a gay bar or see a gay shrink. They didn’t have to go to the metropolitan community church. They could use a codename and be honest with real people.
Where does the bi life coaching come in?
Gay guys usually run in packs when they come out, and an older man takes you under their wing and shows you the ropes. You have friends in the gay community that help you come out and learn how to be gay. Bisexual guys don’t have anything like that. They need the bi life coach, mostly because all of these guys want to tell everybody.
Tell everybody what?
A lot of times these men want to come clean with their wives. I tell them, “My second wife went ballistic. You have no idea what your wife is going to say when you pull this one out of the bag.” Sometimes telling your wife is the worst thing you can do.
So you’re offering safe, discreet, one-on-one guidance. Like a sponsor?
It’s sort of like AA. But on the other hand, it’s not therapy. I’m not a shrink. I don’t want these people to get dependent. This is coaching you about coming out as a bisexual man. The sessions are 20 minutes to an hour. They can just do one initial consultation or six weeks’ or six months’ worth of them.
Who are your clients?
Each person is different. The last guy was an 89-year-old in Montana. I just said, “Winter is coming, and it’s going to be hard for you to meet someone in Montana. Let’s leave this until spring.” But because he was 89 years old, I didn’t have much hope that I was going to be able to help him. So I didn’t want to take his money.
What are your normal rates?
Sixty dollars to $120. If they try to impress me that they have a lot of money, I ask for $200 or $300. For that, you get three hours of coaching and unlimited emails.
You write that bisexual men are the least accepted members of the LGBTQ family. Why is that?
Gays and lesbians have made a lot of progress over the last 30 years. But for the most part, bisexuals remain in the closet. They don’t want to come out either. They don’t want to be public.
It’s hard. Bisexual men have always had a more difficult time than bisexual women. Even lesbians are easier on bisexual women than gays are on bisexual men. They say, “Oh, you’re really queer. You’re just in denial.” They get hostility from both sides.
What’s the Beta Mu Society?
It’s a bi men’s fraternity with about 9,000 members all over the world. It’s a social network, sort of like Facebook. A brotherhood of bisexual men.
Do you identify as bisexual?
Yeah, but I believe there are gay bisexuals, bi-bisexuals and straight bisexuals. I’m a gay bisexual. It’s infinite shades of gray, but I’m not interested in women sexually anymore — they’re too much work!
What’s the most important thing for a newly out bisexual man to consider?
For a lot of older bi men, the big question is, “Do I tell my adult children that I’m bisexual?” They must be prepared for any reaction. Stuff like: Do you think it’s going to be positive? And: Is it going to make your relationship with your children better if they know? After 20 years of doing this, I can safely say that you never know how people will react to the news. It’s easier for people to accept somebody who is gay or a lesbian than it is for them to accept someone who is bisexual, despite the progress we’ve made on LGBT issues in America.
So these men need help.